Google today took a much needed step to target the enterprise customers by releasing Google Apps Directory Sync.
One of the biggest obstacles for businesses in the adoption of Google
Apps is the difficulty in moving from a LDAP kind of directory system.
With the release of Google Apps Directory Sync, Google is taking away
the additional burden of manually maintaining a user directory in
the Google Apps. Now, it is possible to use the existing directory
service for user related account information.
This gives exactly
what some enterprises want when they move to SaaS applications. It takes the
user information from the LDAP service and performs an one way
synchronization with Google Apps. This way, the data on the LDAP server
is untouched, thereby, offering the security expected by enterprise
customers. Since this synchronization utility runs inside the
enterprise firewall, there is no access to the LDAP server data from
outside of the enterprise network. If the Google Apps account have
groups feature enabled, then it is possible to map users, groups, etc.
using the same rules used inside the enterprises. The utility also
includes extensive tests and simulation to ensure reliability.
easy to use utility is available for Google Apps Premier edition,
Education edition and Partner edition. It supports LDAP servers like
Microsoft Active Directory, Lotus Domino, other Open LDAP servers,
etc.. The utility is available for Windows, Solaris and Linux.
this is not enough to sway the enterprises towards SaaS based world, it
is a solid step in the right direction. It is not just Google but other SaaS players are
also getting serious with their enterprise strategy. I have been
talking to a few SaaS vendors and some of them are finding some neat
ways to fit SaaS applications inside the existing enterprise
architecture. It will be interesting to see how these tactics play out and whether they can convince the enterprise players to make a move.
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